Fashion from the 1950s - 1960s
Narrated by Dr. Valerie Steele, Director & Chief Curator for the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, New York manufacturers successfully adapted Paris fashions for the American market. Christian Dior’s hyper-feminine new look was a dominant mode throughout most of the 1950s, but Chanel’s classic suits were also popular with Americans. Indeed, it was Americans who made Chanel so successful in her second reappearance. New York department stores proudly boasted about their licensed copies, showing that an haute couture outfit might cost $400, but their virtually identical licensed copy was only $40. Meanwhile, New York designers like Claire McCardell pioneered the “American Look” of casual sportswear separates. And by the 1960s, both London and New York were also producing youthquake styles like mini-skirts.